Kevin Cody

Pop the Bubble to provide social justice books to Manhattan Beach students

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Local students gather in front of Pages: A Bookstore, the Manhattan Beach business partnering with Pop the Bubble to increase inclusivity and diversity in local curricula. Photo courtesy of Allison Hales

by Rachel Reeves

Owing to the efforts of Pop the Bubble, an organization that aims to increase visibility and empathy for diversity in the South Bay, four school districts in the area are agreeing to supplement their curricula for elementary and middle school students with more diverse and inclusive literature.

This month, the organization is partnering with Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach to raise money for classroom books, plus teaching guides, for schools in the El Segundo Unified, Manhattan Beach Unified, Hermosa Beach Unified, and Compton Unified Districts, as well as for Highland Elementary School in Inglewood.

“Pop the Bubble is thrilled our South Bay school districts have made equality, diversity and social justice a priority for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond,” the organization wrote in a press release. “Our local school boards have committed to strengthening diverse classroom resources to make the curriculum more reflective of each student’s voice.”

Pop the Bubble was formed in response to the viral video of George Floyd pleading for his life in May. Its focus is on educating local kids about the value of diversity, and the impacts of a lack of empathy for people who are different. In collaboration with school district representatives, Pop the Bubble has selected three children’s books that support critical conversations about racism and social justice. The books will be purchased from Pages with monies raised.

One book is Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, the first Kenyan-Mexican actress to win an Academy Award. The story follows a young girl who wishes her dark skin was lighter, and chronicles her journey to love herself and to conquer what academics call “internalized racism.”

Another is The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, an illustrated poem about Black life in the United States, that covers the trauma of slavery, the fire of the Civil Rights Movement, and the perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The American Library Association describes it as “an emotional deep dive into the unapologetic brilliance of the Black experience in the face of unspeakable justice.” 

The third book is “We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,” which asks 50 renowned authors and illustrators to consider the question: “In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?” Kirkus Reviews calls it “a love song from children’s literature’s brightest stars to America’s indigenous children and children of color, encouraging them to be brave and kind.”

The fundraising goal for the month of September is $10,000. Pop the Bubble is asking local businesses to match and/or exceed the donations from individuals. Anyone interested in supporting the drive can donate through popthebubble2020.com or pagesabookstore.com. ER

 

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